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Dark Chocolate Terrine with Coffee and Cardamom
This luxurious dessert is undeniably rich yet surprisingly light, thanks to its airiness and the temperature—chilled—at which it is served. It essentially is a chocolate mousse molded in a loaf pan, then inverted and sliced, like a terrine or pâté, for serving. Our inspiration was the regally named French dessert called marquise au chocolat, an elegant centuries-old dish beloved for its luscious taste and texture. Our take on the classic involves making the base with a dose of strong coffee, an ingredient that enhances the flavor of chocolate. We also include a touch of cardamom for a flavor and fragrance evocative of Turkish coffee. The floral, citrusy notes of the spice bring a welcome softness to the dark, bitter flavors. Whereas many recipes lighten the chocolate base with whipped egg whites, we prefer lightly whipped cream for a velvety flavor and feel. Bittersweet chocolate with about 70 percent cocoa solids is ideal. And since a lot is used, opt for good-quality chocolate. The terrine needs to chill for at least six hours before serving, but will keep for three days in the refrigerator, so this is an excellent make-ahead choice.
grams (12 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped, plus a bar or chunk of chocolate for shaving (optional)
grams (8 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into 8 pieces